'It could’ve been a lot worse': Kayaker was rushed by alligator while paddling down a river

Luckily, he was able to grab hold of a tree in the water to get upright. His kayak was not damaged.


A man kayaking the Waccamaw River over the weekend had a close encounter with an alligator.

Peter Joyce put his kayak in the water near the dam on Lake Waccamaw, according to NBC affiliate WECT. He planned to paddle down the part of the river he had never explored.

Click the video player above to see Joyce's video of the alligator rushing his kayak.

While paddling, video shows an alligator charging through the water, tipping over Joyce's kayak.

“I thought I heard a fish jump to my left —turned out not to be a fish,” Joyce said. “About 3 feet from the kayak, I made out the head of the gator and that was it. I had no time to react. My mind was playing catch-up at that point. Basically, when I made out the head of the gator towards the front end of the kayak, it was kind of just a state of shock. As soon as it hit the kayak, I went, 'What just happened?'”

Luckily, Joyce told WECT he was able to grab hold of a tree in the water to get upright. His kayak was not damaged.

“If it hit and there was nothing to grab on the right side of me, I would have inverted,” said Joyce. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

The alligator disappeared, and Joyce continued on with his journey down the river.

While this is the first time a gator has charged at him, it is not the first time Joyce has seen one in a North Carolina river.

He told WECT he gained much more respect for the scaly creature.

“Usually, they make a splash or move and make a ruckus in the water,” said Joyce. “But this was a continuous charge from about 20 feet away. It definitely made me think a little bit differently [about] what their capabilities are.”

Joyce thinks the alligator could have been more aggressive because it was protecting its young and it is currently mating season.

He said he plans to paddle down this part of the river again, just at a different time of year.